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University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Famer and longtime wrestling coach Joe Dowler passes away

by Cobe Wastler, Wyoming Athletics

Photos courtesy of Wyoming Athletics.

Laramie, Wyo. (April 19, 2022) -- The University of Wyoming was saddened to hear of the passing of UW Athletics Hall of Famer Joe Dowler. Dowler passed away over the weekend.

“Joe Dowler was the type of person that motivated me to want to work in this industry,” UW Director of Athletics Tom Burman said. “In our society today, we have so many “I” people, but Joe Dowler was always a “we” guy. He cared about the greater-good and he cared about everyone in the department. He was a giant in the coaching world when you evaluate how many lives he touched. I will forever be grateful for the wisdom and friendship Joe provided.”

Dowler was the Head Coach of the Cowboy wrestling squad for 14 seasons from 1973-87. In 2005, Dowler was inducted into the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame – the highest honor bestowed by UW Athletics.

He concluded his career with 104 dual wins as well as four Mountain Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles and three Western Athletic Conference team titles. Dowler coached 35 individual conference champions and two All-Americans during his time with the Cowboys.

He was a pivotal figure in the sport introducing the High School Wrestling Cultural Exchange Program and helping initiate the Junior World Wrestling Program. Dowler also coached the first United States Junior World Championships team that toured central Europe in 1967.

Dowler was an Associate Athletics Director at UW from 1987-2001. Following his retirement, he initiated and coordinated the "W" Club for all UW athletic letterwinners.

“He fought years, in various capacities, to keep this program strong, and I was fortunate to have him very involved in my hiring process. Coach hardly missed a practice here until his health worsened and I always enjoyed our daily visits.” Said Mark Branch, “He not only mentored and coached hundreds, if not thousands of young men, he worked tirelessly to build alumni relations and raise money to build the programs resources and facilities. He will be missed in the wrestling world and in the Wyoming family.”

Memorial services are pending at this time.